Contributor: heyitsbryanmContributor: gabrielbautistaContributor: hanztrasmil
Aug 13, 2021


The bars of San Francisco has a little something for everyone. There's the Tonga Room (for tiki-bar lovers), The View (for a madmen-esque atmosphere), the Emporium (an arcade bar in a defunct theater) and many more.

While there are many places to get drunk and party such as the LGBT bars of the Castro or the rowdy dive bars of Polk Street, this bucketlist covers bars with a unique offerring that sets them apart from other bars in the city. You absolutely can not visit this city without at least visiting one of the bars listed below.

Taste a sweet night at Smuggler's Cove

Smuggler's Cove

Though quite a way from the Wharfs of the San Francisco coast, this nautical-themed bar offers a whimsical tone on the seafaring nature of the city. Just a few minutes from Civic Center, the speakeasy bar is most famous for their craft rum and rum cocktails. If you're not too into that though, feel free to strike up a conversation with the bartender and they'll be more than happy to whip you up a personal drink based on your preferences. Considered one of the best in the city, the bar definitely lives up to the hype that gives it long lines night by night. Seating is limited so be sure to get there a few minutes before the bar opens at 5 pm to get ahead of the lines.

Have a blast at Kozy Kar

Kozy Kar

Playful, crazy, and a little bit racy, Kozy Kar has made headlines mostly for its humorous scheduling notices that some have taken too seriously. If that's any indication though, you'll be sure to have a wild time with a great atmosphere if you can stomach the sex shack theme of the space. With this, if you're here to check out the hype, consider going on a weeknight for a lite experience. Thoughts on the drinks are mixed though, with some considering it cheep and others finding it overpriced.

Note that Kozy Kar is located in one of the most active bar-hood of the city. Check out our Polk Street Barhopping Itinerary for how to party it up and meet strangers in the city.

Give yourself a treat at Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar

Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar

Legendary within the city and once drawing the attention of the late Anthony Bourdain, the Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar is a sprawing tiki-themed lounge in the Fairmont Hotel. With a $10-$15 entrance fee per head, you'll be treated to live music and some of the best happy hour deals in the city. The place also offers a myriad of Pacific cuisine and it's important for you to try some stuff out after some drinks. You'll also have to buy some food if you wanna sit down as seats are only available with an order. The crowd also tends to be a bit older thhan the usual club scene, but that's a testament to the decades-long reputation of this historic spot.

Get a romantic view under the moon at The View Lounge

The View Lounge

A bit more upscale compared to the other bars on this list, The View Lounge is the rooftop bar and restaurant of the Mariott Hotel down by Mission St. Featuring arched ceilings, art deco theme, and stunning views of the city, the ambience and atmosphere more than make up for the price mark up. As with any icon, it may be hard to get a seat. It's also better to start the night out here than to end it as the bar closes early. Also, though the website calls for casual attire, make it business casual to better match the air in the room.

Enjoy SPIN San Francisco with your squad

SPIN San Francisco

Half urban hangout spot and half bar and restaurant, SPIN prides itself as part of a growing trend of social hubs that feature not just food and drink, but a great place to bond and hang out especially with unconventional seats and ping pong tables. Expect a fun time with friends surrounded by a crowd that trends on the younger side and make the night better with some of their best selling pizza. As with many trends these days, it might be a bit pricey to some, so beware before you commit.

Kick the night at Emporium SF

Emporium SF

Imagine a theater turned rave club, but instead of an audience full of dancing people, it's a sea of arcade games. Just one of many branches across the US, Emporium SF prides itself as a bar and arcade hybrid featuring neon lights, live DJ sets, and a wide array of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. PErfect for anyone seeking a fun night out, the place is famous for its vibrant atmosphere that is always made better with friends. Play some old school arcade games, join one of the events if you can catch them, or just dane on the dane floor in this spot that's so hot that it's rare for it not to get more crowded as the night goes on. Don't let the non-alcoholic drinks and video games fool you though as there is an ID check at the entrance.

Spend your holiday at Deck the Halls

Deck the Halls

If you find yourself in San Francisco between November and January, be sure to drop by Deck the Halls for a unique holiday night out. Opening seasonally around Christmas, the bar is a more mild experience compared to its neighbors along Polk St. The place features a wide array of drinks with a Christmas twist, most of which trend on the sweeter side. You can rest assured that the ambience doesn't falter as the bar sports a Santa's Toy Factory theme. You might find a line outside the bar and yet another wait for a booth, though, so plan ahead.

Get inspired at Pagan Idol

Pagan Idol

A more hip and fresh version of the Tonga Room, Pagan Idol spares no expense in delivering the tiki theme from the nautical seating area to the tribal hut bar. The bar is most known for its vibe and its collection of craft cocktails inspired by Pacific and Caribbean flavors. IF you make it here early, expect a bit of a squeeze as they don't open the larger back room until an hour in.

Be sporty while enjoying at Urban Putt

Urban Putt

Business in the front and party at the back, Urban Putt is more than just your average restaurant-bar combo as it comes equipped with a mini golf course scattered throughout the space. Great for adults as well as kids, it's a great way to have some nice clean fun with the added perk of craft cocktails. They also don't skimp on the food and you can expect an equally great experience from the kitchen. There's a fee per person to use the golf course, with a discount for kids 6-12. The place also closes earlier compared to most bars so it's best to go on a weekend if you're following the time or before 9:00 on weekdays.

That's all folks!

You've reached the end of this post. We hope you enjoyed this itinerary. Cheers!